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Patrick deWitt

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Patrick deWitt
Patrick deWitt in 2018
Patrick deWitt in 2018
Born1975 (age 48–49)
Sidney, British Columbia
  • Canada
  • United States
Notable worksThe Sisters Brothers (2011)
French Exit (2018)

Patrick deWitt (born 1975) is a Canadian novelist and screenwriter. Born on Vancouver Island, deWitt lives in Portland, Oregon and has acquired American citizenship. As of 2023, he has written five novels: Ablutions (2009), The Sisters Brothers (2011), Undermajordomo Minor (2015), French Exit (2018) and The Librarianist (2023).


DeWitt was born on Vancouver Island in Sidney, British Columbia.[1] The second of three brothers, he spent his childhood moving back and forth across the west coast of North America. He credits his father, a carpenter, with giving him his "lifelong interest in literature."[2] DeWitt dropped out of high school to become a writer.[3][4] He moved to Los Angeles, working at a bar.[5] He left Los Angeles to move back in with his parents in the Seattle area,[6] on Bainbridge Island.[2] When he sold his first book Ablutions (2009), deWitt quit his job as a construction worker to become a writer, and moved to Portland, Oregon.[6]

Although born a Canadian citizen, deWitt was raised primarily in Southern California, and later became a United States citizen.[7] He married screenwriter Leslie Napoles,[8] an American,[9] with whom he has a son named Gustavo.[10] He is separated from his wife, but they are amicable and share the care of their son.[2]


His first book, Ablutions: Notes for a Novel (2009), was named a New York Times Editors' Choice book. His second, The Sisters Brothers (2011), was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize,[11] the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize,[12] and the 2011 Governor General's Award for English-language fiction.[13] He was one of two Canadian writers, alongside Esi Edugyan, to make all four award lists in 2011.[11] On November 1, 2011, he was announced as the winner of the Rogers Prize,[14] and on November 15, 2011, he was announced as the winner of Canada's 2011 Governor General's Award for English-language fiction.[15] On April 26, 2012, the novel won the 2012 Stephen Leacock Award. Alongside Edugyan, The Sisters Brothers was also a shortlisted nominee for the 2012 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.[16] The Sisters Brothers was adapted as a film of the same name by Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain, and released in 2018.

His third novel, Undermajordomo Minor, was published in 2015.[17] The novel was longlisted for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize.[18]

His fourth novel, French Exit, was published in August 2018 by Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins.[19][20] The book was named as a shortlisted finalist for the 2018 Giller Prize.[21] He wrote the screenplay for the 2020 film of the same name.[22]

DeWitt's most recent novel, The Librarianist, was published on July 4, 2023, by Ecco Press. It follows a retired librarian named Bob Comet and is billed as a "wide-ranging and ambitious document of the introvert's condition."[23] It was the winner of the 2024 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.[24]




  • Help Yourself Help Yourself (2007)



  1. ^ Neilson, Doug (December 19, 2011). Patrick deWitt. The Canadian Encyclopedia: Historica Canada. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Rustin, Susanna (November 14, 2015). "Patrick deWitt interview: 'Certain writers look down their noses at plot. I was one of them – until I tried it'". The Guardian. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  3. ^ Jones, Shelley (September 10, 2015). "Coen brother of fiction Patrick deWitt & the comedy of modern characters in antique settings". Huck. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  4. ^ July, Ashly (November 14, 2018). "The Scotiabank Giller Prize finalists recall when they decided to become writers". CBC. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  5. ^ Bishop, Ben (January 8, 2013). "Clear the Bar". Willamette Week. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Robb, Peter (October 22, 2018). "Ottawa Writers Festival: Patrick deWitt makes a French Exit". artsfile.ca. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  7. ^ Steger, Jason (September 7, 2018). "Patrick deWitt: On the run with a mother and son and a cat with a human soul". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  8. ^ Baker, Jeff (February 12, 2012). "Patrick deWitt's hard work pays off with two acclaimed novels and a screenplay". The Oregonian. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  9. ^ Deahl, Rachel (September 23, 2011). "Portland Author Finds Literary Love on the International Prize Circuit". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  10. ^ Bethune, Brian (October 18, 2011). "The new Canadian literary odd couple". Maclean's. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Barber, John (October 4, 2011). "Generation Giller: New young writers dominate Canada's richest fiction prize". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  12. ^ Barber, John (September 28, 2011). "Booker nominees Edugyan, deWitt make shortlist for Writers' Trust prize". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  13. ^ Barber, John (October 11, 2011). "Edugyan and deWitt add GGs to long list of nominations". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  14. ^ Barber, John (November 1, 2011). "Patrick deWitt's 'The Sisters Brothers' wins Writers' Trust Prize". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  15. ^ Medley, Mark (November 15, 2011). "Patrick deWitt wins Governor General's Literary Award for The Sisters Brothers". National Post. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  16. ^ "Edugyan and deWitt face off in yet another literary contest". The Globe and Mail. April 4, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Beattie, Steven W. (September 2015). "Patrick deWitt: fame, horses, and his new novel". Quill & Quire. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  18. ^ "The Scotiabank Giller Prize Presents its 2015 Longlist". Scotiabank Giller Prize. September 9, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  19. ^ "French Exit - Patrick deWitt". HarperCollins Publishers: World-Leading Book Publisher. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  20. ^ "Book Marks reviews of French Exit by Patrick DeWitt". bookmarks.reviews. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  21. ^ Dundas, Deborah (October 1, 2018). "Esi Edugyan, Patrick deWitt among finalists for $100,000 Giller Prize". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  22. ^ Hornaday, Ann (March 31, 2021). "Michelle Pfeiffer reigns over flawed 'French Exit' with mesmerizing hauteur". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  23. ^ "The Librarianist". HarperCollins. Retrieved January 17, 2023.
  24. ^ Cassandra Drudi, "Patrick deWitt wins 2024 Leacock Medal". Quill & Quire, June 24, 2024.

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